Wayne rhapsodized that the bayonet
“dispelled the darkness, let in light” –
illumination through the very guts
of Shawnee, Lenape, Wyandot.
Waiting on their treaty goods
at Detroit, Defiance, Fort Wayne
they dubbed him General Wabang –
which in their tongue means “tomorrow.”
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. . . .
“They spread like oil on a blanket,”
the Little Turtle observed,
“We melt like snow in the sun.”
The Interpreter Translates for Denonville
on his Way to Seneca Country, 1687
Mon. le Marquis: we will gladly burn
one hundred of your enemies,
slowly, carefully through a long night of trial
(Christian Mohawks as we are)
but do not ask us to torch their granary,
the hulled corn and the seed corn,
by the thousand basketful;
nor bid us hew down, field upon field,
the squashes and milk corn,
the fruit trees toward a general
starvation of the People,
for this, mon cher Monsieur,
this would indeed be monstrous.
Fresh blue beer-cans
punctuate the shoulder.
The weathered cross on the tree-trunk
hardly holds her name.